Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]
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Monday, July 23, 2007

Water for Elephants - Popular Book Club Book

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, was very well liked. One of us didn't like it much and one didn't think the ending was credible enough to be a great ending, but there were many rave reviews among the group. It is always nice to dig into a book club book and feel like it fits. It seems to happen often enough, or there wouldn't be book clubs! I think all of us find it easier to find a book that fits than a dress! I guess our minds are a little more plastic than our bodies. Hence the global appeal of virtual reality. But we'll not start going there right now. We'll stick with the circus.

We had insights! I captured a few in my notes. I try to take some notes during our meetings, but I get to enjoying the meeting so much that I miss some notes and probably forget some good points. So, you see, you do have to attend the meeting to get it all! Who was it who said that you can either enjoy your vacation or take photos? I always was big on cameras ever since I was a child, so I often have thought of that quote.

Allison presented Water for Elephants and some information about historic aspects of the book, ie, printouts about the Jamaican drink "Jake Leg" and about the circus wreck that the stampede in the book was compared to in the book. Jake leg was a low-cost substitute for alcohol that was made and sold during the days of Prohibition. Being cheap, it was sold mostly among the lowest economic class. We talked about how the paralysis and death that were connected with the drink didn't make the news in as big a way as they might have if the upper classes had been drinking it. A good number of people were sickened by the drink before the problem was discovered and the drink disappeared.

We discussed the traveling circuses and what they meant to the towns they traveled to back before there was TV. Even during most of our childhoods, the circus was a big event, particularly the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. Most of us have been to a Ringling Bros circus. I once did a paper on a biography of Tom Thumb, a midget in the Ringling circus. I remember it was such interesting reading that I felt I was somehow having it too easy with that assignment.

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